Find the Good News with Oran Parker
Ep. 71 - The Patron Saint of 3 A.M. - A Tribute to Brian Moore  - Find the Good News with Brother Oran

Ep. 71 - The Patron Saint of 3 A.M. - A Tribute to Brian Moore - Find the Good News with Brother Oran

February 6, 2020

EP. 71 - The Patron Saint of 3A.M. - A Tribute to Brian Moore

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After seventy conversations with good people doing good works, one might expect that sitting down to write a proper reflection on a guest would get easier. It does not. It's not that it's hard work, or that it takes some great skill to sit and reflect on the words-and-works of a person. Mostly, it is my own commitment that gives it gravity. I never wished for these meditations to be just another task in the list of things it takes to produce "Find the Good News." With each guest, I've tried to bring my full attention and sincerity to a sharpened point before a single word is typed or spoken. In the case of this episode, this conversation, I have felt an even higher duty to honor the individual properly, for he is no longer here with us.
 
When Brian Moore passed from this world on February 6, 2019, it was as if the social networks in Southwest Louisiana groaned and erupted his name. The great sigh of weeping that followed carried cascading professions of the manifold ways he embraced and comforted the people he encountered during the days and nights of his life. It goes beyond the obvious to state that he was a beloved musician. He will be remembered for his skill and the tutelage that he provided to blossoming musicians of every sort for uncountable years.
 
While the tales of his musical prowess were legendary, it was the stories of Brian's larger-than-life heart and his ability to listen—and then love—that reached my ears. These were stories of the lonely, the seemingly unloved, the worried, the curious, the lost, the outcast, the angry, lovers, fighters, friends, enemies, people cast into every crevice and crack of the damp morning hours. It was there on barstools, cafés, and stoops that Brian Moore would wrap countless people in the full attention of his presence, offering ears to hear and hugging arms to heal.
 
Is it possible to miss someone that you were never close to, having only known them through the loving legends shared by others? If it is—I believe it is—then I, like those who knew him best, miss Brian Moore. I wish dearly that I had reconnected with him in the last decade of his life so that I too would have the love of this giant to lean on. I harbor deep regret that I had only just begun this Good News journey at the time of his passing. If I had started sooner, then perhaps it would be his voice you would hear on this show today.
 
This is not what happened, so it cannot be the way forward. The true way forward is to remember him in detail, tell stories of his good works, think fondly on the various hallowed spaces he haunts, and ponder each of the known-and-unknown faces that he lovingly called, "Pumpkin." This is what three of Brian Moore's closest friends—Marcus Sawyer, Joshua Pierrottie, and Cody Louviere—came together to do in this tribute episode of "Find the Good News." These friends shared a trinity of laughter, love, and loss as they sunk into places of great joy and deep pain.
 
What they shared reminded me yet again that there are beings in this world that transmute their personal pains, sorrows, and loneliness into a wellspring of love and consolation to the lonely. Because they have great personal suffering, they are able to bear the burdens of others. Often, when they enter your life there is a presence so strong and permanent that even when they leave us their vibration remains, permeating the textures and surfaces of the spaces they inhabited. These beings firmly wedge into the hearts of the people that remain to carry their flame.
 
Amid the misty morning, when the gigs are over, and the bars have closed, through the lingering smoke, there is a man on a stool, smiling your way.
 
Brian Moore—Patron Saint of 3A.M.—Heavy-B thy name.

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Ep. 70 - The Unintentional Pedestal Ft. Shakiyla Solomon  - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 70 - The Unintentional Pedestal Ft. Shakiyla Solomon - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

January 30, 2020

EP. 70 - The Unintentional Pedestal Ft. Shakiyla Solomon

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One of the most gratitude producing activities I think one can participate in is meditating on the origins of things. When you look closely at any good thing in your life and trek backward, beautiful worlds of intersecting experiences and chance circumstances begin to unfold. A bigger picture is revealed, and new light shines on individuals, revealing value that may not have been fully appreciated at the time. Reflecting on this blessing in my life—this podcast I call "Find the Good News"—it was clear that its origins flowed from many places, like little streams connecting into this one river of conversation. One of those streams formed during a video interview I conducted many years ago with a local educator named Shakiyla Solomon. I interviewed many of the best-and-brightest teachers in our region for that project, but there was a special light about Shakiyla. She spoke with uncalculated care, in a manner and tone that made every word seem important. While she was talking specifically about education, there was an undercurrent of wisdom that seemed to carry her words along effortlessly. In the full-scope of that mini-documentary, only a fraction of what Shakiyla and I talked about made the final cut. Reflecting on that project put the idea in my head that perhaps there was a way to capture more of these beautiful conversations in the long-form. If you listen to this podcast, then you can draw the connections from there. A lot has changed for Shakiyla since we visited at Washington Marion High School. She answered the call to serve as an educator in a Christian village in Nigeria. At the time of our conversation, she had been working there for one year. In speaking with Shakiyla, it was very clear to me that her time in Nigeria has expanded her comforting presence, deepened her gratitude, and strengthened her faith. It has shown her that one who chooses to teach can do so in ways that reach beyond the classroom walls, radiating out to others through small everyday actions. Teaching can be shared through a kindness shown, or even in the ways one teaches others how to value themselves just as they were created. In Nigeria, Shakiyla is gaining a new perspective, revealing a communal way of living that I am sure will continue to shape her as she moves on to the next stage of her journey. She has been a part of my journey too. Now, she can be a part of yours. This is my conversation with Shakiyla Solomon.

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FOR MORE INFO ON BETH FIELDS BUNCH >> https://www.facebook.com/shakiyla.renae

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Ep. 69 - The Surrender Ft. Beth Fields Bunch  - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 69 - The Surrender Ft. Beth Fields Bunch - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

January 15, 2020

EP. 69 - The Surrender Ft. Beth Fields Bunch of Almost Home Ministries

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Finding out that there are even more good people doing good works in your hometown is always exciting to me. A year ago, I would have never believed that people would just come up to me when I’m out and about and hand me a slip of paper with a lead on someone doing some excellent service in the community I grew up in, but that’s my new reality. Still, as often as it happens, I can’t get used to the light that rises in me, that warm feeling that drives away sneaky thoughts of gloom and doom, and replaces them with something that’s sorely missing in this world. That rising light is hope. That’s what I discovered once again when Beth Fields Bunch agreed to come and visit me on Find the Good News. Beth runs Almost Home Ministries, a Christian recovery ministry in Sulphur, Louisiana that helps individuals rebuild their lives while overcoming the heavy burdens and sorrows caused by substance abuse, and subsequent addictions. Beth and those in her ministry meet people in their hopelessness and brokenness, offering them a ladder out of the deep hole of despair they’ve often climbed. Almost Home Ministries provides loving structure and guidance, helping those that many have written off as lost causes. Christian discipleship pays off for Beth and those in her ministry. They take the call to love and serve the lost sincerely. Where others may see a burden, Almost Home Ministries sees a fellow child of God. Many aren’t able to look past the stigma and the shame of past mistakes, but Beth believes in transformation, using the genuine pains and troubles of the past as gifts to reach others that may be on the same sorrowful path. She understands this because her feet trod that same road, and she found a better way. For Beth, the path to rebuilding and healing presents itself when, in our brokenness, we surrender to something greater than ourselves. It is this something greater that changed her life and gave birth to Almost Home Ministries. For individuals shattered by substance abuse and addiction, It is this something greater that continues to hem frayed edges, knitting and reforming their lives, healing broken families. It is this something greater that offers them the rising light of hope.

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FOR MORE INFO ON BETH FIELD BUNCH & ALMOST HOME MINISTRIES

BETH FIELDS BUNCH >> https://www.facebook.com/bunch2love

ALMOST HOME MINISTRIES >> https://www.facebook.com/AHBunchofus/

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Ep. 68 - The Shot in the Dark Ft. Pastor Sean Barron - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 68 - The Shot in the Dark Ft. Pastor Sean Barron - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

January 1, 2020

EP. 68 - The Shot in the Dark Ft. Pastor Sean Barron

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Most of my conversations on Find the Good News start off right at the round table. In the case of Pastor Sean Barron, I got to have a long friendly chat with him the night before we recorded. I usually get to see each guest as they walk up to the studio door. With Sean, I walked right up to him as he was coming in, and what a joyous greeting he provided. He offered a genuine smile, a hug, and one of my favorite gifts to receive, the gift of common ground. Sean shared happy memories with me of his youth spent scouring the shelves of my Daddy's local video and gaming store, Bo's Videos. I think fondly on those times in the 80s and 90s, and it was clear to me that Sean does as well. In my case, and I think perhaps in Sean's, those times hold high-value because they were before the troubles. You know the troubles. We each have them in our lives, to one varying degree or another. Depending on the ever-changing variety of circumstances in life, the troubles could be little speed bumps, or they could be tire-shredding potholes. In Pastor Sean's case, the troubles came, and they came again, and again. These troubles became the very ground on which Sean's salvation was built, the tilled earth that gave our region the Christian recovery program "Freedom Ministry of the South. He said something to me in our conversation that stood out, partly because it was familiar and mostly because it was powerful. "My name is Sean, and my life has become unmanageable." Maybe you've said some version of this, or perhaps you're on your way there. Wherever you're at, whatever your troubles, however unlovable you feel you are, Sean Barron and "Freedom Ministry of the South" is there to give you the gift of common ground. You haven't fallen anywhere that they haven't fallen too. Because they've been shredded in the same potholes, they know how to change a tire and get you back on a better path. Sean has been there himself, and he knows the way out is through loving and compassionate Christian accompaniment. His message is one of falling down, getting up, redemption, love, transformation, and hope. This is my conversation with Pastor Sean Barron.

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FOR MORE INFO ON PASTOR SEAN BARRON & FREEDOM MINISTRY OF THE SOUTH

PASTOR SEAN >> https://www.facebook.com/seanB009

FREEDOM MINISTRY OF THE SOUTH >>https://www.facebook.com/FREEDOMMINISTRYOFTHESOUTH337/

SEAN'S BOOK "FINISH YOUR MILK (AND DON'T DRINK THE KOOl-AID)" >> https://www.facebook.com/finishyourmilk/

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Ep. 67 - The Disciple - Beacon Series Ft. Susan Stabile - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 67 - The Disciple - Beacon Series Ft. Susan Stabile - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

November 27, 2019

EP. 67 - The Disciple - Beacon Series Ft. Susan Stabile, Author of "Growing In Love And Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources For Christian Meditation"

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If you listen to this show, then you've often heard me allude to a spiritual experience that took place when I was a much younger man. While I have spared the full linear details, it's sufficient to say that the experience changed my mind and gave me a reason to follow my heart. In an attempt to understand this experience of my youth, I wandered as a pilgrim, searching and studying the religions and wisdom traditions of the world. While I found treasures in many, I have never felt more at home than I have in the teachings of Jesus, the Christ, and Sidhartha Gautama, the Buddha.

Living with one foot in each of these religions has been an enlightening journey. It has not been without its difficulties, especially in finding an organized religious tradition I could whole-heartedly call "home." Regardless of this challenge, I have adopted much from the traditions of Christianity and Buddhism. While there are defined differences between them, I have found that love, mercy, compassion, kindness, and wisdom rise clearly to the top. It is from these that I arrange the bouquet of my personal spiritual practice and most of my perspectives.

I feel very blessed to have been born at this time on earth. The last 3,000 years have been filled with discord, conflict, war, and violence. It has also given rise to powerful voices of unity, diversity, and harmony. In the last 100 years alone, humans have gained unprecedented access to information. Many extraordinary beings have used that information to learn, grow, and find common ground. They have focused on the beauty we share, while still remaining grounded firmly in the traditions and teachings of their unique cultures. In seeking voices such as these, I have been honored to read the works of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Walt Whitman, Ram Dass, J. Krishnamurti, Henry David Thoreau, Lao Tzu, Brother David Steindl-Rhast, Tenzin Gyatso-The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Today, I share these names, and this more extended reflection with you, because it is all highly relevant to the nature of Find the Good News and my special guest. You see, recently, I added a new name to the list of wise voices I've come to treasure, and that name is Susan Stabile. I discovered Susan's work while seeking podcasters that may be discussing the writings of the Trappist Monk and Author Thomas Merton. I landed on a podcast called "Creo En Dios," which translates, "I believe in God." I do believe, so I pressed play. I listened. My mind was enlivened. My heart was opened. I pressed play again, and again, and again.

What I found in Susan's lectures was a highly-Catholic voice that seemed to dance effortlessly with teachings of other wisdom traditions. She dialed beautiful practices from Buddhism into a life of Christian prayer. Susan's lectures—of which there are over a hundred—became a part of my weekly spiritual life. She presented Christian teachings and scripture in a way that felt like home for me, and in all truth, the experience was very healing. Her lectures have become a part of the journey both in-and-out of my annual spiritual retreat, framing the beginning and the end of that yearly journey. Her book, "Growing in Love and Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources for Christian Meditation," presents slightly retooled Buddhist methods for Christian's—or anyone— seeking to deepen their existing prayer life.

Discovering her work has been a treasure I did not know I was seeking. Her agreeing to visit with me on this Beacon Series episode allows that work reverberate even further, so that it may enter new hearts and minds.

It is my great pleasure to send this Good News Beacon out to you. This is my conversation with Susan Stabile.

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FOR MORE INFO ON SUSAN STABILE

• BLOG >> https://susanjoan.wordpress.com/

• WEBSITE >> https://susanstabile.com/

• PODCAST >> https://susanstabile.com/podcasts/

• BOOK >> https://amzn.to/2KVVy3E 

 

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Ep. 66 - The Universe Ft. Dave Evans - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 66 - The Universe Ft. Dave Evans - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

November 20, 2019

EP. 66 - The Universe Ft. Dave Evans

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There are people that I've wanted to have on Find the Good News since the first days of the show's inception. For one reason or another, our orbits didn't sync up. Still, I had faith that with enough revolutions, my schedule would sync up with these good people, and we'd get to sit within the gravity of the Right Round Table. One of these people was Southwest Louisiana chef, owner of Luna Bar & Grill, and founder of Chuck Fest, Dave Evans. This year, the stars aligned, and I was able to sit with Dave on Find the Good News. Visiting with Dave was an absolute pleasure because of the sheer expanse of topics relevant to my home region that we cover. Dave Evans is the type of person that echoes and reverberates. He makes a sound, and those ripples have had positive impacts on the people living in the community he serves through his endeavors. With each pulse, Dave infuses a piece of his life. Whether you're eating dinner at Luna, enjoying the downtown area of Lake Charles, or experiencing our area at Chuck Fest, you are traveling within the concentric rings of Dave Evans universe. At zero hour, the very dawn at each of Dave's passion projects, there is a reflection of himself. I believe that this is why Dave Evans' projects shine so bright. It is because they are authentic, very personal, and created with deep love.

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FOR MORE INFO ON DAVE EVANS >> https://www.facebook.com/dave.evans.music or https://www.facebook.com/lunabarandgrill/

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Ep. 65 - The Honor First - Beacon Series Ft. Jenn Budd - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 65 - The Honor First - Beacon Series Ft. Jenn Budd - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

November 13, 2019

EP. 65 - The Honor First - Beacon Series Ft. Jenn Budd, Former Senior Border Patrol Agent & Immigration Rights Activist

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I often say that we have to walk into the darkened recesses of the cave to find the truth. It’s important to learn what is needed, then light lanterns on our way out, illuminating the way so the next travelers can get to that truth safer, and with less suffering. I was reminded of this metaphor again when I recently spoke with former Senior Border Patrol Agent Jenn Budd as a part of the Beacon series on Find the Good News. Instead of going into the dark cave, we traveled along Jenn’s road to the United States-Mexico border, and her eventual exodus from the organization tasked with patrolling this contentious space between our two countries. I first heard Jenn Budd’s voice through the content stream of Laura Grantham Broussard—who joined me in this important conversation with Jenn—and with each of her interviews I could tell that she had a zeal for shining light on the toxic culture and corruption that has stained the U.S. Border Patrol long before the fervor of politically charged media interest in recent years. In our visit with Jenn, we learned that her dissolution with the U.S. Border Patrol, and her subsequent willingness to step into the breach as an immigration rights activist, did not come without deeply personal pain and suffering. Jenn survived her deeply traumatic ordeal in the U.S. Border Patrol, eventually surviving herself, then transmuting all of that scar tissue into a heart that burns with a passion to help others. Rhetoric regarding immigration, asylum, and the United States-Mexico border has been wielded by powerful voices as political weapons, and the image of a tumultuous border has been manipulated to turn a true humanitarian crisis into a profit source for many struggling communities and greed-driven companies. For many of us, these conversations about the border are based on speculation only, and the voices we are listening to often have little-to-no actual experience with on-the-ground border realities. This is not the case with Jenn Budd. Almost two decades ago, the current of life carried Jenn to the border to protect and patrol, but there was no one there to safeguard her from the very organization she had joined. Now, the tide of time has carried Jenn back to this line between two countries, this area that changed her life, a bitter line that is being used to disrupt the quality of life on both its sides, with cruel decisions that will affect families for many generations to come. She, and others like her, believe in a safe and healthy border that is protected by communities working together, with open hands instead of closed fists, with compassion instead of cruelty, celebrating shared cultures, and working to promote a better border vision for of us. This is our conversation with Jenn Budd.

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FOR MORE INFO ON JENN BUDD  >> https://www.facebook.com/jenn.budd or https://twitter.com/BuddJenn 

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FOR MORE INFO ON A NEW BORDER VISION  >> http://bit.ly/2WRPqhu 

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Ep. 64 - The Ocean and the Shore Ft. Mary Vaughan - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 64 - The Ocean and the Shore Ft. Mary Vaughan - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

November 6, 2019

EP. 64 - The Ocean and the Shore Ft. Mary Vaughan

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Breathing. Such a simple action—often taken for granted—yet such an amazing tool to bring us back to an awareness of the present moment. It’s easy to get caught in a half-life between the regrets of the past, or the fears of the future, thoughts cleaved by clinging to one or the other. In the middle lies a state of healing calm waiting with refreshment, ready to heal the sufferings of the past, and sooth the anxiously waiting future by bringing both into the pooling fold of the eternal now. In a culture driven quite mad with the incessant and aggressive longing to pull tomorrow into today ever faster, it is easy to lose awareness and mindfulness, forgetting the blessed-and-always-present breath—the gift of all living beings—that can bring us home. This is the blessing and great charity that Mary Vaughan is bringing into classrooms, to children, reminding them of the precious gift of a calmer present. This is why I asked her to visit me on Find the Good News. Mary brought a gift of incense a calming presence to the Right Round Table. I found her even manner of conversation very relaxing and it put me at ease. Her sharing reminded me again that many times the right people are placed in just-so-particular positions, equipped with life experiences, training, and developed skills that uniquely align with ailments in the world. As a father that is raising children in a world filled to burst with fear and anxiety signals, I always keep a keen eye out for the helpers that arrive, using their days as living breathing beings, to show us a better, healthier, happier way. Mary Vaughan is one of these beings. As a yoga practitioner and instructor, she has found great value in mindfulness meditation exercises, and she puts the right effort into sharing those lessons with children, the human races’ great hope. She shows them the practical application of meditation, the value it brings to their young lives, and offers them a door to the precious present that is as near as their next inhalation. Breathe in, dear friends. Breath. Out.

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FOR MORE INFO ON MARY VAUGHAN  >> https://www.facebook.com/premascension or https://www.facebook.com/premascension72/

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Ep. 63 - The Pulpit of Hypocrisy Ft. Darren Paul Hanks - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 63 - The Pulpit of Hypocrisy Ft. Darren Paul Hanks - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

October 30, 2019

EP. 63 - The Pulpit of Hypocrisy Ft. Darren Paul Hanks

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When I moved back home almost 15 years ago I found myself in the Bardo of becoming. Old things in my life were passing away. Familiar relationships had vaporized. New experiences were right in front of me, and with that came new people. I was fortunate in that the gravity of the Bardo drew good people into my life, and one of those people was Darren Paul Hanks. Darren and I were fast friends, immediately finding we had a variety of things in common. We connected over entertainment, comic books, and even worked in the same creative industry. Darren was jolly, and a willing helper, sensing the needs of others and selflessly offering assistance in whatever capacity he could help. Years passed by, our circle of friends grew, and when Darren would arrive you knew that a certain type of joy and love had arrived as well, no matter what we were doing. Time passes, and things change, and friend groups dissolve, but many of the bonds are forged of more resilient materials. That’s the type of friend bond I feel with Darren Hanks, the kind that survives as the world around us changes. I’ve held Darren in high regard for a long time. He has seen my children grow. He stood beside me as my best man when I married Michelle. He loved us as we welcomed a new child into the world. He’s a good man, so I wasn’t surprised when many people asked me to bring him in for a visit on Find the Good News, not even realizing that I had a long, pre-existing relationship with the man. I learned many things I did not know about this man, my friend. For all the love that he shares with the world through his personal 1221 Studio brand, Darren has struggled for so long to find love for himself. So much of this great love for others has come from a deep-seated and skewed personal view of himself. In sharing his love for others through his open-door art nights and art drops, Darren has settled into the best version of who he is, and has found comfort—even love—for this man that he has become. While he often says that he speaks from the pulpit of hypocrisy, I tend to believe that he instead speaks from the truth derived from true honesty about himself. Darren does the hard work, the deep looking, the wrestling, the digging, the heart-and-mind work that we should all do. While he’s busy working on his life, he still makes time to reach out to others. The wheel of time will turn again, and the Bardo of becoming will continue to bring change, but I have this sense that my friendship with Darren will be there through it all. He is an encouragement for anyone that has ever had a negative view of themselves, a reminder that we can all change our minds and hearts, and I am so happy to call him my good friend.

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SUPPORT FIND THE GOOD NEWS ON PATREON >> www.Patreon.com/FindTheGoodNews 

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FOR MORE INFO ON DARREN PAUL HANKS & 1221 STUDIO  >>  https://www.facebook.com/DarrenH1221 or https://www.facebook.com/DarrenPaulHanks/

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Find the Good News Journal - Entry 5 - The Rising and Falling - with Oran Parker

Find the Good News Journal - Entry 5 - The Rising and Falling - with Oran Parker

October 26, 2019

Find the Good News Journal - Entry 5 - The Rising and Falling w/Oran Parker

In this Find the Good News Journal Entry I talk about the breath of life, the light in our eyes, and I share three important experiences with breathing that are firmly planted in my heart.

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SUPPORT FIND THE GOOD NEWS ON PATREON >> www.Patreon.com/FindTheGoodNews 
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